New species: Winter Meadowhawk dragonfly

I discovered a new species of dragonfly: Winter Meadowhawk (Sympetrum antifreezium). Kidding!

Winter is defined in two ways: astronomical winter begins on the date of the December Solstice (around 21 December) and ends on the March Equinox (around 21 March); meteorological winter includes the months of December, January, and February. Although astronomical winter hasn’t begun (as of this writing), meterological winter began on 01 December. So I took the liberty of jokingly renaming the last species of odonate still flying during the third week in December (in Northern Virginia): Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum).

I spotted 10s of Autumn Meadowhawks at two locations in Huntley Meadows Park (HMP): most of the dragonflies were seen perching along the boardwalk that goes through the central wetland area; one individual was spotted near a vernal pool/small permanent pond at a remote forested location in the park.

Males

The first two photos in this gallery show two males, as indicated by their coloration and terminal appendages.

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

16 DEC 2015 | HMP | Autumn Meadowhawk (male)

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

16 DEC 2015 | HMP | Autumn Meadowhawk (male)

Mating Pair

The next photo shows a mating pair in tandem: the male is on the lower-left; the female on the upper-right.

A mating pair of Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is shown in tandem.

16 DEC 2015 | HMP | Autumn Meadowhawks (mating pair, in tandem)

Female

The last two photos show a female, as indicated by her coloration and terminal appendages.

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

16 DEC 2015 | HMP | Autumn Meadowhawk (female)

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

16 DEC 2015 | HMP | Autumn Meadowhawk (female)

Related Resources:

Editor’s Note: 16 December establishes a new late-date for Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies at Huntley Meadows Park. 01 January is the “official” late-date for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to “New species: Winter Meadowhawk dragonfly”

  1. Updates, two recent posts | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] few Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum), jokingly referred to as “Winter Meadowhawk dragonflies” in a recent post, were observed near the terminus of the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows […]

  2. New state record late-date for dragonflies | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] single Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum), jokingly referred to as a “Winter Meadowhawk dragonfly” in a recent post, was observed on 03 January 2016 near the terminus of the Hike-Bike Trail […]

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